We’ve long been taught the importance of creating a favorable first impression. Whether it’s a job interview or meeting a potential in-law, presentation plays a significant role in how we are perceived.
The same rule applies to buildings, including the presumably bland self storage facility. Because most decisions to rent self storage ─ not unlike shopping for a home ─ are made on first impression before interacting with a property manager ─ gone should be the unsightly, boxy structures that clutter otherwise attractive streets and neighborhoods. And while most people might still perceive storage facilities as solely functional, today’s forward-thinking owner/operator realizes that a bit of polish can go a long way in attracting and retaining tenants in an ever-evolving, competitive industry.
And it all starts with that first impression.
Think of it as a date. You want to be the great catch who has it all – looks, personality, character. And brains, too. Turn heads by improving your curb appeal, both inside and out, with these tips.
Make self storage inviting, and they will come
Fitting your facility’s décor to that of the neighborhood it shares creates a sense of home and community. Simply adding minor touches like landscaping, exterior lighting and warm paint colors on walls, unit doors and floors, can boost appearance dramatically for a relatively small cost.
Defining your demographic is first and foremost in knowing where to begin. Who lives and works near your facility? Are they college students, businesses, residents? What appeals esthetically to these groups can differ, so it’s important to observe your surroundings.
According to a 2017 Storelocal co-op owner survey, 60 percent of decision makers (when it comes to choosing self storage) are women. Based on this data, wouldn’t it make sense to mirror the look and feel of storage facilities with home interiors of this purchasing demographic?
National Self Storage did something similar by modeling the design of its facility located in the prestigious Dove Mountain residential community of Marana, Arizona, after the nearby Ritz-Carlton resort, so that it would blend in and appeal to residents. Customized features of National Self Storage-Dove Mountain include local stone accents, Spanish tile roofing and a covered loading zone. They even installed interior street signs in hallways, so that tenants can easily navigate where their valuables “live.” The result is a self storage experience that is comfortable as well as functional.
Show them you’re more than just a pretty face
Today’s discerning self storage shopper truly does want it all. In addition to luring the eye, self storage needs to be smart. This means being easy to do business with during every stage of transacting.
Partially manned facilities lend both modernity and flexibility to what can be a lengthy manual transaction process. Installing self-service kiosks and sophisticated digital signage in facility lobbies allows tenants the option to execute a lease and purchase ancillary services, all paperless, with as much or as little assistance as desired.
Additional solutions for improving one’s technological curb appeal include modern access solutions such as gates, man-doors and unit doors that can be locked and unlocked from a mobile device, eliminating the need for access codes and keys.
Be the total package
Before prospective tenants contact your property, they have likely already made preliminary decisions about storing with you. This includes online research and reviews, your website presentation and its ease of use. Today’s customer wants to be able to interact and transact with you on their terms, typically from a mobile device, 24 hours a day. Any prospect should be able to answer some important questions, including:
● Does the facility look friendly? (can I choose assistance or to go it alone?)
● Does the facility look inviting? (am I dying to see inside?)
● Does it look clean? (tidy with carts and dollies neatly parked?)
● Does it look safe? (well-lit with state-of-the-art, 24-hour surveillance?)
● Does it look easy to do business with? (smart technology with 24-hour access and transactability?)
Make a good first impression, and the answers will be “yes.”